Battista Guarino
De Ordine Docendi et Studendi (1459)


W.H. Woodward, ed.,
Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1912), 159-178.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned, proofread, and posted by Baljitsingh Kalsi, Divya Rao, Shiv Singh, and Ilamaren Sivarajah in January 2001.


BATTISTA GUARINO was the youngest son of Guarino Veronese, and was born in I434 during his father's residence at Ferrara, where Guarino held the post of tutor to the heir of the House, Leonello d'Este, and kept school. We gather that he was the only one of the sons of Guarino who shewed any genuine taste for scholarship, and that his father built high hopes upon his abilities. As a boy he was brought up and educated under the immediate direction of Guarino, who was led, by his early promise, to entrust him with a share in the private tuition of the students resident in the Master's house (contubernales). It was Guarino's purpose in this way to secure a continuity for his methods.

In 1455, when only twenty-one years of age, Battista was elected to the chair of Rhetoric at Bologna, which is decisive evidence of his reputation for scholarship. This he held for two years, when he returned to join his father at Ferrara. He had become an expert in textual emendation and devoted much time to the study of the MSS. of Catullus. He wrote the treatise Upon the method of Teaching and of Reading the Classical authors at the age of twenty-five, probably at his father's suggestion; for we have no recognised publication upon the educational art from the elder Guarino, if we except such a Letter as that addressed by him to Leonello d'Este. The date of the Treatise is given as October 1459; Guarino Veronese died in December of the following year. We may take it, then, that the tract represents, as it claims to do, the general principles which guided the teaching at the School at Ferrara. On the death of his father, Battista was unanimously elected his successor in the Professorship in the University.

The Treatise is narrower in scope than that of Vergerius or of Aeneas Sylvius. It contains no reference to subjects outside Ancient Literature; History, by which of course Livy and Plutarch are intended, has a sympathetic paragraph, but logic or ethics seem to be regarded mainly as illustrations of Cicero. The Greek authors, however, occupy an important place; and it is evident that this Tract marks the time when the claim to be considered an educated gentleman will only be allowed to one who is familiar with both the ancient Literatures. This standard of culture is upheld, and defended in formal terms for the first time in this Treatise.

[The Treatise bears date ' Verona xv Kal. Martii, 1459Hain, *8128, is the earliest (apparently) edition recorded, but no place, date, nor printer, is given. The Heidelberg edition of 1489 (Hain *8131) and the Modena edition of 1496 (Hain 8129) are the only others of the century so far distinguished. It is not met with in later collections of such Tracts published in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Paris or Amsterdam]


BATTISTA GUARINO TO MAFFEO GAMBARA,
OF BRESCIA,
CONCERNING THE ORDER AND THE METHOD TO BE
OBSERVED IN TEACHING AND IN READING THE
CLASSICAL A UTHORS.


IN offering this short Treatise for your acceptance, I am fully aware that you need no incentive to regard the pursuit of Letters as the most worthy object of your ambition. But you may find what I have written a not unwelcome reminder of our past intercourse, whilst it may prove of use to other readers into whose hands it may fall. For I have had in view not only students anxious for guidance in their private reading, but masters in search of some definite principles of method in teaching the Classics. Hence I have treated both of Greek and of Latin Letters, and I have confidence that the course I have laid down will prove a thoroughly satisfactory training in literature and scholarship. I should remind you that the conclusions presented in this little work are not the result of my own experience only. It is indeed a summary of the theory and practice of several scholars, and especially does it represent the doctrine of my father Guarino Veronese; so much so, that you may suppose him to be writing to you by my pen, and giving you the fruit of his long and ripe experience in teaching. May I hope that you will yourself prove to be one more example of the high worth of his precepts?

Let me, at the outset, begin with a caution. No master can endow a careless and indifferent nature with the true passion for learning. That a young man must acquire for himself. But once the taste begins to develop, then in Ovid's words 'the more we drink, the more we thirst.' For when the mind has begun to enjoy the pleasures of learning the passion for fuller and deeper knowledge will grow from day to day. But there can be no proficiency in studies unless there be first the desire to excel. Wherefore let a young man set forward eagerly in quest of those true, honourable, and enduring treasures of the mind which neither disease nor death has power to destroy. Riches, which adventurers seek by land and sea, too often win men to pleasure rather than to learning; for self-indulgence is a snare from whose enticements it is the bounden duty of parents to wean their children, by kind word, or by severity if need arise. Perchance then in later years the echo of a father's wise advice may linger and may avail in the hour of temptation.

In the choice of a Master we ought to remember that his position should carry with it something of the authority of a father: for unless respect be paid to the man and to his office regard will not be had to his words. Our forefathers were certainly right in basing the relation of teacher and pupil upon the foundation of filial reverence on the one part and fatherly affection on the other. Thus the instinct of Alexander of Macedon was a sound one which led him to say that, whilst he owed to his father Philip the gift of life, he owed to his tutor Aristotle an equal debt, namely, the knowledge how to use it. Care must be taken therefore from the outset to avoid a wrong choice of master: one for instance, who is ill-bred, or ill educated. Such a one may by bad teaching, waste precious years of a boy's life; not only is nothing rightly learnt, but much of that which passes as instruction needs to be undone again, as Timotheus' said long ago. Faults, moreover,Imbibed in early years, as Horace reminds us, are by no means easy to eradicate. Next, the master must not be prone to flogging as an inducement to learning. It is an indignity to a free-born youth, and its infliction renders learning itself repulsive, and the mere dread of it provokes to unworthy evasions on the part of timorous boys. The scholar is thus morally and intellectually injured, the master is deceived, and the discipline altogether fails of its purpose. The habitual instrument of the teacher must be kindness, though punishment should be retained as it were in the background as a final resource. In the case of elder boys, emulation and the sense of shame, which shrinks from the discredit of failure, may be relied upon. I advise also that boys, at this stage, work two together with a view to encouraging a healthy spirit of rivalry between them, from which much benefit may be expected. Large classes should be discouraged, especially for beginners, for though a fair average excellence may be apparently secured, thorough grounding, which is so important, is impossible. In the case of more advanced pupils, however, numbers tend rather to stimulate the teacher.

2 As regards the course of study. From the first, stress must be laid, upon distinct and sustained enunciation, both in peaking and in reading. But at the same time utterance must be perfectly natural; if affected or exaggerated the effect is unpleasing. The foundation of education must be laid in Grammar. Unless this be thoroughly learnt subsequent progress is uncertain,-a house built upon treacherous ground. Hence let the knowledge of nouns and verbs be 'secured, early, as the starting point for the rest. The master will employ the devices of repetition, examination, and the correction of erroneous inflexions purposely introduced.

Grammar falls into two parts. The first treats of the rules, which govern the use of the different Parts of Speech, and is called therefore 'Methodice,' the second includes the study of continuous prose, especially of historical narrative', and is called 'Historice.'

Now these Rules can be most satisfactorily learnt from the Compendium written by my father which briefly sets out the more important laws of composition. In using this or a similar text-book the pupil must be practised both in written and in oral exercises. Only by rapid practice in oral composition can fluency and readiness be gained. And this will be further secured if the class is accustomed to speak in Latin. Certain general Rules of a crucial nature must be early learnt, and constantly practised, by the whole class. Such are those by which we recognise the differences between active, passive and deponent verbs, or between those of transitive or intransitive meaning. It is most important that each boy be required to form examples in illustration of the main rules of accidence and syntax, not only with accuracy but also with a certain propriety of style, as for instance with due attention to the order of words in the sentence. In this way the habit of sound and tasteful composition is imbibed during the earliest stages of education. A master who is properly qualified for his work will be careful to use only such transcripts of texts as can be relied upon for accuracy and completeness. The work just referred to has been much disfigured by additions and alterations due to the ignorance or conceit of the would-be emendator. As examples of what I mean you may turn to the rule as to the formation of the comparative of adjectives of the second declension where an inept correction is added in some copies (' vowel before a vowel' is turned into ' vowel before -us'); and in another place the spelling 'Tydites' is substituted for my father's (and, of course, the correct) form 'Tydides.'

But to return. Let the scholar work at these Rules until they are so ingrained, as it were, into the memory that they become a part and parcel of the mind itself. In this way the laws of grammar are accurately recalled with effort and almost unconsciously. Meanwhile rules of quantity and metre have been entered upon. This branch of Letters is so important that no one who is ignorant of it can claim to be thought an educated man. Hence it is significant that so much attention was paid to the subject by the ancients; even Augustine, that great pillar of the Church, did not disdain to publish a tract upon Scansion'. In reading the Poets a Knowledge of Prosody is indispensable to the enjoyment, nay even the understanding, of their works. An acquaintance with metrical structure enables us to enter into the beauties of the rhythm, whilst our only clue to the exact meaning of the writer is not seldom given by the quantity of a vowel. Nor is the artifice of rhythm confined to poetical composition. Orators often shew themselves masters of this art; and in order to duly appreciate the flow of their eloquence, much more to reproduce it for ourselves, we must be skilled in the ordinary laws of metre. On this ground it is possible to commend the use of the manual of grammar which passes under the name of Alexander2; it is founded upon the great work of Priscian, but it is much more readily committed to memory on account of its metrical form. When the rudiments of prosody have been carefully learnt we shall find that proficiency is best gained by the daily reading of the poets. The works of Vergil must be learnt by heart, and recited as a regular task. In this way the flow of the hexameter, not less than the quantity of individual syllables, is impressed upon the ear, and insensibly moulds our taste. Other metres may afterwards be attempted, so that no form of ancient poetry be left neglected.

3. I have said that ability to write Latin verse is one of the essential marks of an educated person, I wish now to indicate a second, which is of at least equal importance, namely, familiarity with the language and literature of Greece., The time has come when we must speak with no uncertain voice upon this vital requirement of scholarship. I am well aware that those who are ignorant of the Greek tongue decry its necessity, for reasons which are sufficiently evident. But I can allow no doubt to remain as to my own conviction that without a knowledge of Greek Latin scholarship itself is, in any real sense, impossible. I might point to the vast number, of words derived or borrowed from the Greek, and the questions which arise in connection with them; such as the quantity of the vowel sounds the use of the diphthongs1, obscure orthographies and etymologies. Vergil's allusion to the Avernian Lake:

'O'er that dread space no flying thing
Unjeoparded could ply its wing'

is wholly missed by one who is ignorant of the relation between the name of the lake and the Greek word opvis. Or again the lines of Ovid,

'Quae quia nascuntur dura vivacia caute
Agrestes aconita vocant,'

is unintelligible unless we can associate 'cautes' with the Greek (akovn). So too the name Ciris (kelpw), and the full force of Aphrodite4 (aFpwv) are but vaguely understood without a clear perception of their Greek etymologies. The Greek grammar, again, can alone explain the unusual case-endings which are met with in the declension of certain nouns, mostly proper names, which retain their foreign shape; such as 'Dido' and 'Mantus.' Nor are these exceptional forms confined to the poetic use. But I turn to the authority of the great Latins themselves, to Cicero,Quintillan, Cato and Horace : they are unanimous in proclaiming the close dependence of the Roman speech and Roman literature upon the Greek, and in urging by example as well as by precept the constant study of the older language. To quote Horace1 alone:

'Do you, my friends, from Greece your models draw,
And day and night to con them be your law.'
And again,
'To Greece, that cared for nought but fame, the Muse
Gave genius, and a tongue the gods might use.'

In such company I do not fear to urge the same contention.

Were we, indeed, to follow Quintilian, we should even begin with Greek in preference to Latin. But this is practically impossible, when we consider that Greek must be for us, almost of necessity, a learned and not a colloquial language; and that Latin itself needs much more elaborate and careful teaching than was requisite to a Roman of the imperial epoch. On the other hand, I have myself known not a few pupils of my father-he was, as you know, a scholar of equal distinction in either language-who, after gaining a thorough mastery of Latin, could then in a single year make such progress with Greek that they translated accurately entire works of ordinary difficulty from that language into good readable Latin at sight. Now proficiency of this degree can only be attained by careful and systematic teaching of the rudiments of the Grammar, as they are laid down in such a manual as the well-known 'E??t??t? of Manuel Chrysoloras, or in the abridgement which my father drew up of the original work of his beloved master. In using such a text-book the greatest attention must be paid to the verb, the regular form, with its scheme of moods and tenses; then the irregular verbs must be equally mastered. When the forms of noun and verb can be immediately distinguished, and each inflexion of voice, mood and tense recognised,-and this can only be tested by constant viv? voce exercises-then a beginning should be made with simple narrative prose. At this stage all authors whose subject matter requires close thought should be avoided, for the entire attention must be concentrated upon vocabulary and grammatical structure. Only when some degree of freedom in these latter respects has been secured should the master introduce books of increasing difficulty.

Our scholar should make his first acquaintance with the Poets through Homer, the sovereign master of them all. For from Homer our own poets, notably Vergil, drew their inspiration ; and in reading the Iliad or the Odyssey no small part of our pleasure is derived from the constant parallels we meet with. Indeed in them we see as in a mirror the form and manner of the Aeneid figured roughly before us, the incidents, not less than the simile or epithet which describe them, are, one might say, all there. In the same way, in his minor works Vergil has borrowed from Theocritus or Hesiod. After Homer has been attempted the way lies open to the other Heroic poets and to the Dramatists.

In reading of this wider range a large increase of vocabulary is gained, and in this the memory will be greatly assisted by the practice of making notes, which should be methodically arranged afterwards. The rules of Accentuation should now be learnt and their application observed after the same method. It is very important that regular exercises in elementary composition be required from the first, and this partly as an aid to construing. The scholar will now shortly be able to render a Latin author into Greek, a practice which compels us, as nothing, else does, to realise the appropriateness of the writer's language, and its dignity of style, whilst at the same time it gives us increased freedom in handling it. For though delicate shades of meaning or beauties of expression may be overlooked by a casual reader they cannot escape a faithful translator.

But whilst a beginning is being thus made with Greek, continued progress must at the same time be secured in Latin. For instance the broader rules of grammar which sufficed in the earlier stages must give place to a more complete study of structure, such as we find in Priscian, and irregularities or exceptions, hitherto ignored, must be duly noted. At the same time the Epistles of Cicero will be taken in hand for purposes of declamation. Committed to memory they serve as one of the finest possible aids to purity, directness, and facility of style, and supply admirable matter in no less admirable form for adaptation to our own uses. Yet I would not be understood to claim the Letters of Cicero as alone offering a sufficient training in style. For distinction of style is the fruit of a far wider field of study, To quote Horace once more:

'Of writing well, be sure, the secret lies
In wisdom: therefore study to be wise.'

4. But we are now passing from the first, or elementary, to the second, or more advanced, stage of grammar which I called 'Historice,' which is concerned with the study of continuous prose authors more particularly the Historians. Here we begin with a short but comprehensive view of general history, which will include that of the Roman people, by such writers as Justin or Valerius Maximus. The latter author is also valuable as affording actual illustrations of virtuous precepts couched in attractive style. The scholar will now devote his attention to the Historians in regular order. By their aid he will learn to understand the manners, laws and institutions of different types of nation, and will examine the varying fortunes of individuals and states, the sources of their success and failure, their strength and their weakness. Not only is such Knowledge of interest in daily intercourse but it is of practical value in the ordering of affairs.

Side by side with the study of history a careful reftding of the poets will be taken in hand.. The true significance of poetic fiction will now be appreciated. It consists, as Cicero says, in the exhibition of the realities of our own life under the form of imaginary persons and situations. Thus Jerome could employ Terence in bringing home his exhortations to Temperance. Let us not forget that Vergil as a subject of deep and regular study must always stand not first, but alone. Here we have the express authority of Augustine, who urges the supreme claim of the great poet to our life-long companionship. Lucan may perhaps with good reason be postponed to a later stage. Quintilian regarded him as 'the rhetorical poet': and undoubtedly his poem has much affinity with certain aspects of the forensic art. There is a certain strain of the keen debater in particular portions of his work. So I should advise that Vergil be followed by Statius, whose Thebais, fashioned upon the Aeneid, will be found easy reading. The Metamorphoses of Ovid form a useful introduction to the systematic knowledge of Mythology-a subject of wide literary application-and as such deserves close attention. The rest of the works of this. poet, if I except the Fasti-unique as a source of antiquarian lore, and, alas! as incomplete as it is interesting-may very. wisely be omitted from the school course. The Tragedies of Seneca attract us by the gravity of their situations and the moral distinction of their characters by which they are rendered specially useful for teaching purposes. Terence has the sanction of Cicero as regards grace and appropriateness of diction ; he urged that parts of the Comedies should be committed to memory upon those grounds. If with Terence we couple Juvenal, the greatest of Satirists, we shall find that these two writers afford us a copious and elastic vocabulary for all the needs of ordinary intercourse, and not that alone, but that they provide us with a store of sound and dignified judgments. It is objected, indeed, without sufficient reason, that juvenal is unsuitable for educational purposes in that he describes too freely the vicious morals which come under his lash. But in the first place this applies to but very few passages, whilst the rest of the Satires must command the admiration of all earnest men: in the second, if we must shew our indignation in the matter we should direct it rather against the vices themselves than against their critic. Plautus is marked by a flow of eloquence and wit which secures him a high place in Latin literature. That the Muses, if they spoke in Latin, would choose 'the Plautine diction,' was a common saying; and Macrobius placed the comic poet, in company with Cicero, at the head of the great masters of the Roman tongue. Horace throws unusual light upon the Art of poetry: he has a specially delicate sense of expression; and in his choice of epithets is only su rpassed by Vergil. His Satires again form the best introduction to that type of poetry: for Persius is much less clear. There are other poets of literary importance, but their study may be postponed to a later period. It will be of advantage that the reading of the poetical authors should be accompanied by occasional perusal of writers who have treated of Astrology and of Geography: such as Pomponius Mela, Solinus, and Strabo which latter author has been lately translated from the Greek by my father. A clear conception, too, ought to be. attained of the Ptolemaic Geography, to enable us to follow descriptions of countries unfamiliar to us.

The, course of study which I have thus far sketched out will prove an admirable preparation for that further branch of scholarship which constitutes Rhetoric, including the thorough examination of the great monuments of eloquence, and skill in tht oratorical art itself. The first work to claim our attention in this subject is the Rhetoric of Cicero1, in which we find all the points of Oratory concisely but comprehensively set fourth. The other rhetorical writings of Cicero will follow, and. the principles therein laid down must be examined in the light of his own speeches. Indeed the student of eloquence must have his Cicero constantly in his hand; the simplicity, the lofty moral standard, the practical temper of his writings render them a peculiarly noble training for a public speaker. Nor should the admirable Quintilian be neglected in this same connection.

It will be desirable also to include the elements of Logic in our course of studies, and with that the Ethics of Aristotle, and the Dialogues of Plato; for these are necessary aids to the proper understanding of Cicero. The Ciceronian Dialogue, in form and in matter, seems often to be modelled directly upon Plato. None of his works however are so attractive to myself personally as the De Officiis and the Tusculans. The former reviews all the main duties of life; the latter exhibits a wealth of knowledge most valuable-both as to material and expression-to every modern writer. I would add that some Knowledge of the principles of Roman Law will be helpful to the full understanding of Latin authors.

A master who should carry his scholars through the curriculum which I have now laid down may have confidence that he has given them a training which will enable them, not only to carry forward their own reading without assistance, but also to act efficiently as teachers in their turn.

5. I now approach the second theme of my discourse: the method to be followed by those compelled to rely upon independent study. My first and most urgent precept is this. Let a young student regard himself habitually as likely to be called upon to teach the subject at which he is working at the moment. There is no better check to careless or superficial acquirement. For, as Quintilian long ago reminded us, one who knows that it will be his duty to teach the subject which he is studying will be diligent to examine it upon all sides, and in all its aspects, and will make himself secure upon every point that may fairly arise out of it. If opportunity offer, he will discuss the matter in band with a fellow student, or in default of that he will devise an imaginary disputation in which he will expound or defend what he has acquired.

In reading an author it is not enough to be content with the exposition of a single Scholar. Every commentary of importance must be consulted to enable us to form our own judgment as to the precise meaning of the text and the force of each individual word. Our notes should be regularly written up, as carefully and as fully as though we destined them to publication. This practice quickens our intelligence and concentrates our attention: it tends to careful construing, to ready composition, to more exact recall of details. A volume of notes duly ordered serves the purpose of a common-place book. A student who is just entering upon a course of independent reading should direct his attention to those authors who have treated of a wide range of subjects, as Aulus Gellius, Macrobius, and Pliny, whose Natural History is indeed as wide as Nature herself. To these I may add St Augustine De Civitate Dei, so valuable for the light it throws upon the historic rites and ceremonies and the religious beliefs of the Ancient World. In such reading the practice of making extracts, where the interest of the subject matter suggests it, and of collecting parallel passages from different authors, is an important help to the student. Nor do I forget to urge the well-known device of the Pythagoreans, who in the evening revolved whatever of worth they had heard or had read during the day. Nothing more surely conduces to the clear memory of what we have acquired. I would propose, in addition to this, a monthly revision, upon a fixed day, of the entire course of our reading during the previous four weeks.

In Greek, the private student who has mastered the rudiments of the grammar, may confidently adopt a method which I know from experience to have proved effectual, in the absence of a teacher, in, securing a high level of attainment in the language. He should select an author whose works have been accurately rendered into Latin. Keeping the original and the translation side by side let him make the most careful comparison of the two word b word: the vocabulary of Greek thus becomes readily familiar. At the same time let him practise the habit of reading aloud to himself from a Greek author, a custom which has unfortunately been allowed to fall into neglect to the detriment of our scholarship. I say 'reading aloud'; for each word must make its due impression upon the ear if attention is to be sharply aroused to it, and its true significance reach the mind. Apart from its value mentally, reading aloud is physically beneficial, in the opinion of the experts in medicine. Plutarch held that the action of the respiratory powers through the voice has direct effect upon the entire system, increasing the bodily heat, quickening, and cleansing the blood. So also Pliny and Ariston thought that the healthy activity of all the digestive functions is aided by the exercise of the voice. Shouting and undue strain of any kind must, of course, be avoided, or injury to the throat results.

Another effect of this practice in reading will be to develope self-confidence in public-speaking, a quality of -the utmost importance in an Orator but one by no means common. For want of it Isocrates, 'the father of eloquence,' as Cicero calls him, could never deliver the speech as he had committed it to memory. Now the points of good reading are not difficult to seize. In the first place, however accurate the enunciation, however fluent the delivery, unless a fine perception of the author's meaning is conveyed in every tone of the Reader we pronounce the effort a failure. In the next place, this implies a carefully trained intonation, with observance of recognized pauses, which correspond to the flow of ideas contained in the passage. No pains must be spared by the student to achieve this nicely-adjusted relation of thought and expression. For expression without thought, words without ideas can never satisfy the lover of sound learning.

This leads me to the reflection that, whilst. in Nature we find some animals which are content to feed upon flowers, like bees; others on leaves, like goats; others again on roots, like swine; the appetite of the Scholar demands the best of each and every kind of mental food. In purity and grace of style, in worthy deeds worthily presented, in noble thoughts nobly said, -in all these, and not in one alone, he finds the nourishment of his mind and spirit. In respect to poetry, however, a caution seems necessary. For like the Polypod, which, indeed, is pleasant enough to the taste, but provokes terrible visitations in the hour of sleep, so Poetry, whilst it feeds, as nothing else, our sense of delight, has yet in it a power to disturb and to excite the spirit. We need, then, to be careful in reading, the Actions of the Poets to fix our thought rather on the underlying truths which are therein concealed than upon the, imaginations in which they are expressed. In this way we are not disturbed by the impieties, cruelties, horrors, which we find there; we judge these things simply by their congruity to the characters and situations described. We criticise the artist, not the moralist. Chrysoloras used to illustrate this canon of literature by analogy. We shrink from the touch, nay from the sight, of a snake or a scorpion: a clever drawing of either is a source of pleasure. Or we are afraid of the roar of the tempest, or we shudder at the grating of a saw, whilst a cunning imitation with the voice may provoke our laughter. What in real life repels us may in fiction win our admiration by its, skilful presentation. But where the poet treats, with the same skill, of things in themselves noble, then we may accept his guidance, without reserves.

In ordering our reading it is of great help to allot specific hours to each subject, and to observe the rule, once made, with strictness. In this, way we may check our progress day by day. Hesiod long ago pointed the lesson, that the heap after all is only an accumulation of tiny grains. So to rescue even a few minutes each day for definite study of a particular author is always a gain. In the pursuit of learning as in other activities order and method are the secret of progress. A chorus sings in harmony of time and note, or it produces merely a noise; an army is a highly organised array of various arms, with its proper train of foragers, transport and camp followers, or else it is a bewildered and dangerous mob. Hence we see the crucial importance of system, which applies not less to study than to the captaincy of an army. For unless we map out clearly our course of reading and arrange our working hours in accordance with it, so many subjects claim our attention that concentration and thoroughness are impossible; our mind is divided between books of equal attractiveness, with the result that no solid work is done at all. When the day's reading is over, and we sit down to review and to secure what we have acquired, we find that our impressions are blurred and uncertain that facts have escaped us and that definite conclusions, therefore, are not possible.

6. Before I bring this short treatise to a close I would urge you to consider the function of Letters as an adornment of leisure. Cicero, as you remember, declares Learning to be the inspiration of youth, the delight of age, the ornament of happy fortunes, the solace of adversity. A recreation in the Study, abroad it is no hindrance. In our work, in our leisure, whether we keep vigil or whether we court sleep, Letters are ever at hand as our surest resource. Do we seek refreshment for our minds? Where can we find it more happily than in a pursuit which affords alike utility and delight? If others seek recreation in dice in ball-play, in the theatre, do you seek it in acquiring knowledge. There you will see nothing which you may not admire; you will hear nothing which you would gladly forget. For good Books give no offence, call forth no rebuke; they will stir you, but with no empty hopes, no vain fears. Finally, through books, and books alone, will your converse be with the best and greatest, nay, even with the mighty dead themselves. A life spent amidst such interests deserves the title which the younger Pliny gives to it-, the true, the kingly,life': or, as Attilius was wont to say, no leisure could be more nobly occupied than that spent amongst books. Learned labour, he said, was pleasanter than any pleasures. The elder Pliny, indeed, took this ground when he gently reproached his nephew for using his leisure in taking walks; for no one was more careful in rescuing every minute for his beloved studies. His secretary was reading to him one day in the presence of a friend, who asked that a sentence carelessly read should be repeated,- which was done. Pliny impatiently turned to his visitor, "Why interrupt? The sense was clear, and now we have lost ten lines or more by this stoppage." Cato of Utica would, in the Senate House itself, remain absorbed in books until the beginning of public business. Theophrastus was in the habit of reproaching nature for granting long years of life to the stag and the crow who could not use them, whilst denying them to man who has before him the illimitable task of knowledge. Let us, then, heeding these great names, see to it that we allow not our short working years to pass idly away. To each species of creatures has been allotted a peculiar and instinctive gift. To horses galloping, to birds flying, comes naturally. To man only is given the desire to learn. Hence what the Greeks called 'p??de??' we call 'studia humanitatis.' For learning and training in Virtue are peculiar to man; therefore our forefathers called them 'Humanitas,' the pursuits, the activities, proper to mankind. And no branch of knowledge embraces so wide a range of subjects as that learning which I have now attempted to describe.

I will end as I began. If this little work fulfils, perhaps more than fulfils, the promise which I held out, it is because it does but exhibit that order and method of study which my learned and revered father has followed for so many years in his own school. For as from the Trojan Horse of old the Greek heroes spread over the captured city, so from that famous Academy of my father has proceeded the greater number of those scholars who have carried learning, not merely throughout Italy, but far beyond her borders. You, as my pupils are in a sense his intellectual heir. Continue to follow with all zeal the precepts herein laid down; you will then fulfill the hopes I have always cherished of your future; if it be possible, you will, I know, endeavour to surpass them.


At Verona. xv Kal. Mar. MCCCCLVIIII.



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